Embedding tikanga and whakapapa into every interaction with rangatahi Māori faced with challenges in mental health is key to reducing disparity in the system.
Child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr Hinemoa Elder firmly believes Te Ao Māori can help combat challenges rangatahi Māori face in a system ruled by a westernised appraoch.
Elder was recently recognised with a Queens Honour for her unapologetic advocacy of a tikanga Māori approach in the health sector.
Dr Elder told Moana Maniapoto on Te Ao with Moana that she examines every aspect of the rangatahi she works with and moulds the knowledge into a plan that is led by Te Ao Māori. ;
“My opening gambit is usually something like …I’ll do a karakia for us aye?”
Elder told Te Ao with Moana that asserting tikanga as a rule as opposed to an option is the best way to start with rangatahi facing challenges with mental.
“I don’t actually give them that much of a choice I’m asserting that karakia as a good idea and as a good way to start. What I noticed form that was they started to look me in the eye and I;ve had some of these staunch young guys say to me, ‘oh miss, noones ever done a karakia for me before.”
Elder believes the future focus needs to be centered around prevention as opposed to the current approach.